'We're Making Memories'
The way Dan McNamee sees it, the money his family invests in racing is worth every penny.
“It’s family time,” Dan McNamee said. “I heard the best thing to spend your money on is memories, and we’re making memories. Racing’s not a cheap sport; it takes money to do it. It’s something we feel we can afford and spend the money on that we’ll be talking about for it for a lifetime. It’s worth it.”
While there are many father and sons who race against each other in the same division, there are not many father-daughters who do: Dan and his 21-year-old daughter, Megan, both of Arvilla, N.D., race against each other in the Wissota Street Stock class at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks and Devils Lake Speedway near Crary, N.D. Dan drives the #29, and Megan drives the #92.
“(There’s) a lot of father-sons, but not a lot of father-daughters,” Dan McNamee said. “It’s a lot of fun. It puts the fun in racing. It’s good competition. But if the car’s not working or things are going right for either one of us, at least it’s fun to talk about it all week long and kid each other who was ahead or who was behind.”
While Dan has raced for more than a dozen years , Megan is in her second year behind the wheel.
Megan McNamee had driven in some Powder Puff races at Devils Lake and getting behind the wheel sparked an interest in racing herself. So her dad, Dan made a deal with her — if she helped him build a new street stock, Megan could have his old one.
“I started pitting for him and I kept begging him and begging him,” Megan said. “They do the Powder Puff at Devils Lake and I did that one year, and I really liked it and did it a couple of years after that. I begged and begged him — he finally said ‘if you help me build a new car, I’ll give you my old one.’”
The street stock division in eastern North Dakota is not easy to break into as the competition is strong.
“I thought she was going to get run over; much to my surprise she’s done very, very well in the street class,” Dan said. “She probably should have started out in the pure stock or hornets; it was one of those things, we had the car, we knew how to set it up, and how to run it and we had the parts for it, and she could run it both at Grand Forks and the other tracks in the street class.”
Not only does the father-daughter team race against each other weekly, they also work on their street stocks together. Megan designed the graphics for both cars.
“I do as much as I can but it’s mostly, ‘here, I’ll show you how to do it,’” Megan said.
When the two race against each other, there’s some friendly competition as to who does better.
“I’ve beat him one time where I passed him and actually finished in front of him,” Megan said. “He’ll never hear the end of it. We kept the check and everything.”
Dan says with so many other things to focus on during the race, he often doesn’t pay attention to how Megan does. There are exceptions, though — like on June 21, when the two were in the same heat race together at River Cities Speedway, the red flag came out for a crash.
“That was the first I did was started looking for the 92 car, to see if she was involved,” McNamee said.
Megan has one top five finish this season at Devils Lake.
“I love it, but we’re still learning,” she said. “It’s been fun. There’s not that many girls do it, so It’s fun to be out there with the boys, especially against my dad. That makes it worth it.”
Dan has five top five finishes this season, including a runner-up finish at River Cities Speedway on June 28.
“The adrenaline rush — it’s fun,” Dan said. “You work all week long, you’ve got to let some steam off. Weekends are a good time to do it.”
Division: Wissota Street Stock #92
Residence: Arvilla, N.D.
Sponsors: Ironman Welding, Victory Diesel, Dakota Laser, Smitty’s Transmission, and Big Al’s Construction.
Division: Wissota Street Stock #29
Residence: Arvilla, N.D.
Sponsors: Dakota Laser, Big Al’s Construction and Smitty’s Transmission.